What Happens After A Workers' Compensation Maximum Medical Improvement Ruling?

When a hurt worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), it means that their condition has stabilized, and further medical treatment is unlikely to result in much improvement. This stage of a worker's case usually calls for the following events:

  • Assessment by the treating physician: The treating physician evaluates the worker's condition and determines that they have reached MMI. They may provide a final medical report documenting the worker's current medical status, any residual impairments, and their opinion on the worker's ability to return to work.
  • Determination of permanent impairment: If there are residual impairments resulting from the injury, the treating physician may assess the worker's permanent impairment rating according to the applicable guidelines or standards. This rating helps determine the level of compensation the worker may be entitled to for their permanent disability.
  • Evaluation of work restrictions: The treating physician may also provide recommendations or restrictions on the worker's ability to perform certain tasks or return to their previous job. These recommendations are essential in determining any necessary work accommodations or potential vocational retraining options.
  • Communication with the employer and insurer: The worker's MMI status, permanent impairment rating, and any work restrictions are communicated to the employer and workers' compensation insurer. This information helps in the evaluation of the worker's compensation claim and the determination of appropriate benefits.
  • Negotiation or settlement discussions: Once the worker reaches MMI, negotiations or settlement discussions between the worker's attorney and the workers' compensation insurer may occur. The focus shifts from ongoing medical treatment to the resolution of the claim, including compensation for permanent disability, lost wages, future medical expenses, and vocational rehabilitation, if necessary.
  • Vocational rehabilitation or retraining: If the worker's injuries prevent them from returning to their previous job, vocational rehabilitation services may be provided. This can include assistance with job placement, vocational training, and support in transitioning to a new occupation.
  • Resolution of the workers' compensation claim: The workers' compensation claim is finalized through either a negotiated settlement or a formal hearing process. The resolution includes the determination of compensation and benefits owed to the injured worker based on their MMI status, permanent impairment rating, work restrictions, and other relevant factors.

Injured workers need to consult with a workers' compensation attorney who can support them through the process after reaching MMI. The attorney can help ensure that the worker's rights are protected, negotiate on their behalf, and help them cope with the complexities of the workers' compensation system to secure the appropriate benefits and compensation. Contact a workers comp attorney near you.